Love is Sweetest
…the second time around
(for Sol and Rod Retaga)
By Apolinario Villalobos
I saw Sol first along the highway outside our subdivision many years ago and was impressed by her dusky beauty, always smiling, yet. I did not know that she was our neighbor. Later on, because of our homeowners’ association, we became close, especially because she was also active in our projects just like me. What impressed me was her being down-to-earth, easy to get along with and most especially, her husky singing voice that she can manage to fit any style. I learned that she was working in a bank, but found still later on that she also moonlighted as a lounge singer.
She was a picture of happiness and contentment with her husband, Rey and their two children. But it was cut short by her husband’s death during the early part of the 80’s. Despite the loss, she moved on and took the misfortune as some kind of a challenge. From then on, she worked harder as a single parent, with her mother lending a hand.
Nobody knew about her colorful love life until she got married again, this time to Rod, a former classmate in third year high school (Jose Abad Santo High School/Arellano University – Pasay City).
Sol shared that Rod was her best friend in high school, and who provided her instrumental accompaniment every time she sang in their programs. The intense love for music made Rod decide to pursue his musical career after graduating from high school. At 18, he joined a band that had contracts abroad. Rod decided to pursue his studies in 1975, during which time, the two met again, although Sol was already married to Rey, her boyfriend of 8 years.
Since 1986 Sol had been helping her alumni association organize their annual reunion, by tracing the whereabouts of their former schoolmates. In 1999, for the 2000 Grand Reunion, while checking directories, she came across the name of Rod’s brother. Instinctively, she requested that the information about their reunion be relayed to him. She even wrote to Rod but got no reply. Then one day, she received a call from Taiwan and found out later that it was Rod who divulged that she just got divorced from his Taiwanese wife. He had three kids.
From then on, Rod would call and they talked for five to six hours. He was still with the band, performing in clubs and other joints, while she was still connected with a bank in the Ayala district of Makati City. As fate would have it, she decided to resign from the bank and joined Rod in Taiwan. Their common denominator was love for music which made them decide to get married, for which Rod was given the blessing by his children. As for Sol, her two children who have families of their own, were more than glad that they were getting a “brand new father”. Their marriage was very simple, no fanfare. They just wanted to tie the knots in public, among friends and relatives on hand, to show how sincere they were for the belated vow. That was in March 24, 2001.
Rod and Sol are still in Taiwan singing together and bowed to do it for as long as their God-given talent will allow them. Life can be mysterious, at times….and with love, Rod and Sol proved that it can be sweetest, not only sweeter, the second time around.